Lt. Col. William E. Dyess

Lt. Col. William E. Dyess (HM1GZD)

Location: Abilene, TX 79605 Taylor County
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Country: United States of America
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N 32° 26.52', W 99° 48.578'

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Albany, Texas native William Edwin Dyess (b. 1916) graduated from John Tarleton Agricultural College and became an aviation cadet at Randolph Field, San Antonio. Dyess went to the Philippine Islands as commander of the 21st Pursuit Squadron of P-40 aircraft.

?????After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, and invaded the Philippines, Dyess led successful attacks against Japanese shipping in Subic Bay, with few operational planes, and served as an infantry commander during the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942. He was taken prisoner and faced the grueling Bataan Death March that resulted in the loss of thousands of American and Filipino lives. Despite the malnutrition, disease and torture the captives faced in Japanese prison camps, Dyess survived, on April 4, 1943, almost a year after his capture, he and 11 other men escaped, making their way through hostile territory. They connected with a guerrilla group who put them in touch with a U.S. submarine that took them to Australia. Dyess debriefed with the War Department and Gen. Douglas MacArthur. After Dyess returned home, publication of his stories in the Chicago Tribune provided invaluable information on conditions in Japanese prisoner of war camps that altered world opinion.

?????Promoted to Lt. Colonel and recuperated from his wartime ordeal, Dyess returned to flying. He died on December 22, 1943, when the new P-38 he piloted caught fire over Burbank, CA., and crashed. His wife, Marajen, published his personal war accounts the next year as The Dyess Story, and he was the inspiration for the acclaimed play Men of Bataan (1943). Highly decorated for combat heroism and leadership, Dyess was buried in Albany (35 mi. NE). In his honor, Abilene Air Force Base was renamed Dyess Air Force Base in 1956.
Marker Number13110
Year Placed2004
Placed ByTexas Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 3:43am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14S E 423893 N 3589718
Decimal Degrees32.44200000, -99.80963333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 32° 26.52', W 99° 48.578'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds32° 26' 31.2" N, 99° 48' 34.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)325
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8001-8047 Farm to Market Rd 3438, Abilene TX 79605, US
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